Church to Discipline Lay Person for entering a Civil Marriage

Press Release from the LGBTI Anglican Coalition 14 September 2015

The LGBTI Anglican Coalition is shocked to learn that the Archbishop of York proposes to remove his permission for Jeremy Timm to officiate as a Reader in his diocese, solely because he chooses to convert his longstanding civil partnership into a civil marriage. Jeremy is also the National Coordinator of Changing Attitude England.

We believe this is the first known instance of such action being taken against a lay person in the Church of England since the February 2014 publication by the House of Bishops of their Statement of Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage. The sanctions described in that document specifically referred to clergy and ordinands only.

As we said in February 2014, those sanctions are cruel and unjust to clergy, and we look forward to the time when being lawfully married is no barrier to any ordained or licensed ministry.

This unwarranted extension of these policies to lay persons is doubly objectionable, will further damage the Church’s mission, and seriously undermines its credibility to the English public. The situation is exacerbated by observed inconsistencies of approach between dioceses.

The Chairs of both the Coalition and Changing Attitude England have therefore jointly written to the Bishop of Sheffield, as the lead bishop with responsibility in the area of Human Sexuality, to request urgent clarification of the policy of the Church of England in relation to lay couples of the same gender who enter a civil marriage.